“I’ve lived here for 14 years now, and I just can’t imagine living in any other suburb in Melbourne,” says Eryn Skinner. She’s talking about Elwood, the beachfront suburb she calls home. For Skinner, it’s also where she works, having opened Popkin’s Artisan Popcorn in the suburb with her brother and father two years ago.
The family business was developed from a popcorn marquee run by Skinner’s brother at events and festivals. Today, the Elwood store sells a range of sweet, savoury and salty popcorns, including classic butter; caramel with maple-roasted peanuts; and a gourmet blue cheese and fig. Having lived and worked in the area for so many years, Skinner knows the neighbourhood intimately and shared with Broadsheet her must-visit spots.
Skinner’s ideal start to the day is a walk around Elwood with her partner and their border collie puppy, Lila. First, they stop by Mr Tuppy for a soy chai or caffe latte before heading to the Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve for a wander through the wetlands.
Save 20% when you buy two or more Broadsheet books. Order now to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas.SHOP NOW
For breakfast, it’s straight to Plain Sailing for poached eggs. The cafe comes from the team behind Prahran’s Tall Timber and Carnegie’s Left Field and offers a range of Middle Eastern-leaning brunch options. For Skinner, though, breakfast is about going back to the basics.
“One of the reasons they’re my favourite is they do such beautiful poached eggs,” she says. “I went around town searching for the perfect eggs Florentine… and their poached eggs and wilted spinach on toast with hollandaise, that just suits that craving every time for me.”
After appropriately fuelling up at breakfast, Skinner likes to shop for supplies at small businesses such as The Leaf Store, a local grocer stocking organic produce from local growers and farmers. “I like to support the small businesses,” she says. “I’m also a fan of wholefoods, fresh produce [and] sustainable choices, and we have all of those things on offer in Elwood. And Leaf’s produce is just beautiful.”
When lunchtime arrives, Skinner heads to Little Sunflower Cafe, which features a health-focused menu including the likes of curries, vegan burgers and smoothies. Skinner, who eats a vegan diet at home and is vegetarian when eating out, says the menu really does cover all bases.
“It’s a tiny little cafe,” she says, “but it just feels bright… it’s good if you prefer vegan and vegetarian options. However, if you’re going with some friends that prefer a little bit of chicken or bacon, they do have those options too.”
She usually goes for one of the burgers: either the beetroot bun burger, which is topped with field mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, dill cucumber and cashew cheese, or the charcoal bun burger, stacked with black bean and corn, roasted capsicum, avocado and jalapenos.
In the late afternoon, Skinner enjoys another walk with Lila along the canals, or Elwood beach. For a snack on-the-go, she might grab a smoothie at Combi, known for its superfood bowls and smoothies.
For dinner, though, Skinner often heads to Repeat Offender, a Latin-inspired eatery with a menu that’s entirely gluten free, with half the dishes also being plant-based. “It's got such a great vibe, a gluten-free menu – half of it is vegan – and it’s all so tasty,” she says. “I'm so glad they’re there, I think we’re so lucky to have a place like that.”
To finish off the day, Skinner likes to unwind at home and watch a movie on the couch with her family and their favourite movie snack – which is, of course, a bowl of Popkin’s popcorn.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Ray White.